REVIEW & OUTLOOKAugust 31, 2012 –
Barack Obama is fond of insisting that he “has Israel’s back.” Maybe he should mention that to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
In remarks to journalists in London quoted by the Guardian, General Martin Dempsey warned that any Israeli attack on Iran would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear programs.” He also said economic sanctions on Iran were having an effect and needed more time to work, but that the good they were doing “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”
And to underscore the firmness of his opposition to an Israeli strike, the Chairman added that “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.”
We don’t know what exactly Gen. Dempsey thinks American non-complicity might entail in the event of a strike. Should the Administration refuse to resupply Israel with jets and bombs, or condemn an Israeli strike at the U.N.? Nor do we know if the General was conducting freelance diplomacy or sending a signal from an Administration that feels the same way but doesn’t want to say so during a political season.